Loafers are a fashion staple that adds a touch of smart-casual style to any outfit. This guide will help you navigate the multiple styles and most importantly advise you how to wear loafers with any outfit.
Sliding on a pair of loafers is easy enough, but we've laid out a few guidelines so that your outfit will always be on point, no matter what you're wearing. Since loafers are such a versatile piece, there are plenty of different styling opportunities. See below for our top tips for styling loafers for every day.
Loafers, being such a classic style, have been through countless iterations. They have come and gone in popularity, but it seems that loafers will always be a wardrobe staple. Loafers are reaching the height of fashion once again thanks to some designer brands and styles - we're looking at you, Gucci. We are now seeing recreations of these loafers pop up in high street stores and on the feet of many on the street.
Best Loafers For Men
With so many styles available on the market it can be overwhelming. To cut through the noise, here at The Idle Man, we have put together a definitive guide to the best loafers for men. Read on for our top picks so your footwear can always be on point.
How To Wear Penny Loafers
In 1934, Maine boot-maker G.H.Bass began to make his brand of loafers - their name “Weejuns” harkened back to the shoes' Norwegian roots. Soon, these shoes had become a staple of the American wardrobe.
Notably, it was said that during the 1930’s, school children and college students intending to make some bold fashion statement would insert coins into the triangular slit in the strap at the front. While this may not have been true, the name “Penny Loafer” stuck, becoming the common name for moccasin-like shoes for casual wear.
Brown Suede Penny Loafers
Brown suede penny loafers are a good option to reach for if you're just starting to experiment with loafers in your wardrobe. With brown being a neutral colour, it will give you almost limitless styling options. Suede is a classic material that will lend itself well to many different outfits for various occasions.
How to Wear Penny Loafers with Jeans
Since Penny loafers are a footwear classic, why not pair them up with their best friend (and other fashion classics), a good pair of jeans. It's best to stick with classic colours such as brown suede when you're playing around with jeans and loafers. A good black pair contrasted with a distressed pair of jeans and a bomber jacket will make for a casual and modern look this season.
How to Wear Penny Loafers with Shorts
Because they can be slipped on at a moment's notice, loafers look great with shorts. The key to making this look work is choosing the right style in the right colour. Because your outfit is instantly summery, go for a brown pair of loafers to dress it up.
It's up to you how formal or informal you go, but a shirt and jumper combination with a pair of chino shorts and loafers is a great summer formal look. We would recommend going sock-free when you wear loafers and a pair of shorts. There are plenty of invisible socks on the market which will solve all of these problems - smell free!
Men's Tassel Loafers
The story goes that the American film star Paul Lukas bought a pair of Oxfords with tassel laces while overseas during World War II. He returned to America, and asked Farkas and Kovacs, the New York shoemakers, to replicate them. Unsatisfied with the result, Lukas tried other shoemakers, and his request eventually reached the Alden Shoe Company.
The company came up with a new design of loafer. The slip-on shoe kept the leather tassels as decoration and marketed them as men's tassel loafers. The name stuck and men's tassel loafers in black especially became popular throughout the late 1950s.
How To Wear Tasselled Loafers
Wearing tasselled loafers for men is easy. For the smart casual look, stick to traditional colours. For a more casual look, you can experiment with colours and go for more detail such as outer stitch detail. The best look with tasselled loafers would be a smart jacket, such as a blazer or a mac, teamed with chinos or smart jeans. Loafers with a suit also works well for more formal occasions. Suede tassel loafers are also a great option for casual looks and are amongst some of the best summer loafers you can find.
How to Wear Loafers
Loafers are most definitely a versatile shoe. That being said, it doesn't mean that there aren't certain guidelines to stick to when it comes to men wearing loafers. Luckily for you, we've got you covered in that department as well. Here's our very own handy tutorial.
If you're going to go down the more traditional route, wearing your loafers with a pair of socks will be your go-to, so it's best to pick the right pair to suit your look.
If you're in a more formal setting then we'd suggest against wearing your most vibrant and patterned socks. A decent pair of quality wool ones will go a long way. Quality socks may cost a bit more than you may feel comfortable spending on something that won't necessarily be seen, however they are much more likely to last longer without wearing so much that your toes stick out the ends.
When going sockless, you’re going to want to watch out for that trouser gap. Make sure that your trousers aren’t too long so that the hem drops over the shoe, but not too short, so you start flashing bare ankle. If you do decide to wear socks with your loafers, consider matching their colour to the colour of your trousers for a cohesive look.
The majority of loafers are made from leather or suede, and choosing the right material is an important job. It pays to know in advance what kind of cleaning and maintenance each material will need to keep your loafers looking their best.
Loafers are primarily made out of leather. It’s a classic material that looks great with any casual or smart outfit. When choosing a pair of leather shoes, it’s important to spend a little more. The more expensive leather is, the longer it will last, which is the main factor when investing in shoes.
Suede loafers are a classic wardrobe staple that probably reminds you of an older generation. But, as they say, you can't beat the classics, and that stands true with a pair of suede loafers. Opt for a pair of suede loafers in black or brown for the winter and a lighter colour such as pale blue for the summer. Make sure you keep your suede shoes clean and treat the material before you wear them. Suede protecting sprays will do this wonderfully.
What Are Loafers?
People have been wearing loafers for over a hundred years. The first “Wildsmith Loafer” was made in 1847 by the London-based shoe company Wildsmith Shoes. The loafer was intended to be a casual slip-on shoe for use in the country homes of aristocrats. The man credited with introducing loafers to the masses was Norwegian shoemaker Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger. As a teenager, he spent many years learning and perfecting his craft in America, before returning to his hometown of Aurland.
Inspired by his travels, Tveranger designed a moccasin in 1930 that combined the styles of the Iroquois Native Americans and the Aurland locals. Norway began distributing these shoes across Europe, where they were adopted by visiting Americans.
The shoes featured in a photo article on Esquire due to their popularity. Then, the Spaulding family of New Hampshire decided to have in and began manufacturing their version of the shoes, giving them the name “loafers”. Since then, the shoe has become a wardrobe staple, with loafers currently the height of fashion.
How to Wear Loafers
- Penny loafers are a versatile pair of shoes that you can easily and comfortably wear with most outfits.
- Tassel loafers are great for a smart/casual look with a blazer and chinos.
- Suede is perfect for loafers. However, suede loafers must be protected with a suede spray so that they don't get damaged.
- Loafers work well with shorts for an instantly summery look that can be dressed up or down. Try so wear invisible socks when wearing loafers and shorts.
- Opt for loafers in classic colours like brown and black, but pair with contemporary distressed jeans for an updated casual look.
On That Note
If you’ve never considered wearing loafers before, then now is your chance! You’ve got all the information you need to pick out a pair. As long as you assess the situation, wearing loafers is simple. Just take the time to figure out whether they work better with your casual jeans look, or that smart suit, and you’ll be a real loafer aficionado in no time!